Papua New Guinea: Reports of violence at Barrick-operated Porgera mine

Recent media reports cite incidents of injuries and killings at the Porgera gold mine. Mine operator, Barrick Niugini Limited (BNL), said the injuries were sustained by intruders after falling from extremely steep inclines of the mine. BNL said that it is providing the required medical treatment. Moreover, the company has denied the reports alleging that the injured were shot by the police or the mine security.

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Article
8 November 2019

Papua New Guinea: Landowner group calls on government to reject renewal of licence for Canadian mining company, Barrick

Author: Radio New Zealand

“Porgera landowners call on PNG govt to reject Barrick”, 4 November 2019.

Landowners in Papua New Guinea's Enga province have pressed the government not to renew a license for a Canadian miner. Barrick Gold Ltd,…co-operator of Enga's Porgera gold mine with China's Zijin Mining Group, is pushing to renew its contract for another 20 years. Negotiations are ongoing,…PNG's government [saying] it was seeking a greater share in the mine.

[L]andowners continue to complain about lack of compensation for environmental damage caused by the mine over almost thirty years of operation…chairman of the Porgera Landowners Group, Nixon Mangape, told EMTV that promised benefits from the mine were never forthcoming…“Barrick's license has expired and the company should be ready to exit…No negotiation."

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Article
30 September 2019

Illegal Intrusion Deaths Self-Inflicted – Barrick

Author: Post-Courier

1 October 2019

Barrick Niugini Limited (BNL), operator of the Porgera gold mine in Enga, reported that a number of illegal intruders have been seriously injured after falling from height in the open pit area of the mine.

Mine management reported that...several large groups of unauthorised intruders, believed to be illegal miners, gained access to the mine’s open pit, and that a number of the intruders were injured after falling from extremely steep inclines while climbing through the area.

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BNL executive managing director Tony Esplin confirmed that two of the intruders suffered fatal head injuries and several others have sustained serious injuries requiring urgent medical treatment, which the mine is providing.

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“These incidents highlight the enormous risks that intruders and unauthorized persons face when they seek illegal entry to the operational areas of the mine.

“The PJV has repeatedly warned these intruders, many of whom are from areas outside of Porgera such as Kandep, Laigam and Tari, of the hazards of conducting illegal mining in the operational areas of the mine, but sadly our warnings are not heeded.”

Mine management has noted that local reports alleging that the injured were shot or injured by police or mine security are not true, and that all of the injured had fallen from height.

“The injured persons are currently receiving medical treatment at the mine medical centre, and following further assessment by medical staff, those with more serious injuries may require transfer to hospitals elsewhere,” he said.

Barrick (Niugini) Limited has advised relevant authorities about the incidents, and will be working closely with the police and others as they investigate these events.

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Article
29 September 2019

Following shooting deaths, PNG police minister highlights reform

Author: Radio New Zealand

30 September 2019

Papua New Guinea's Police Minister says the constabulary aims to better equip officers with non-lethal techniques when faced with hostile crowds.

Bryan Kramer's comment follows reports from Enga province of a deadly confrontation between police and illegal miners at the Porgera gold mine.

Community groups in Porgera claim four local men were shot dead by police personnel providing security for Barrick Gold's joint venture mining operations.

Speaking before he had been fully briefed on the incident, Mr Kramer admitted that over time police had resorted to certain practices, including use of gunfire, to respond to large, lawless crowds.

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